art by Melissa Mead
by Keyan Bowes
"Feathers? What do you mean, feathers?" Kate asked her co-worker, taking a bite of her honey-ham sandwich. "Aren't you eating? We're due back in fifteen."
The spring breeze blew Nelli's hair into her face, and she brushed it away impatiently.
"Quentin has feathers," she said. "All over his chest and stuff. Instead of body hair, you know."
"Weird. What color feathers?"
At the next table, a kid threw pieces of bread for the birds. A dove landed briefly on the canvas market umbrella above him. Nelli pointed to it.
"Sort of gray-brown, like that bird. But downy, like a chick. And a few shiny green ones."
"Chicks are yellow," says Kate, pulling her soda toward herself and rattling the ice in the plastic cup.
"I know that, Kate. You know what I mean. Downy but gray."
"Like baby swan thingies, cygnets?"
"Why is it important what it's like? I'm telling you Quentin has feathers!"
"All the way down?" asked Kate with interest.
"Well, yeah…." Nelli blushed.
Kate laughed. Nelli stiffened, glaring at her. "What's so funny?"